Targeted Transposition of Minicircle DNA Using Single-Chain Antibody Conjugated Cyclodextrin-Modified Poly (Propylene Imine) Nanocarriers

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Among non-viral vectors, cationic polymers, such as poly(propylene imine) (PPI), play a prominent role in nucleic acid delivery. However, limitations of polycationic polymer-based DNA delivery systems are (i) insufficient target specificity, (ii) unsatisfactory transgene expression, and (iii) undesired transfer of therapeutic DNA into non-target cells. We developed single-chain antibody fragment (scFv)-directed hybrid polyplexes for targeted gene therapy of prostate stem cell antigen (PSCA)-positive tumors. Besides mono-biotinylated PSCA-specific single-chain antibodies (scFv(AM1-P-BAP)) conjugated to neutravidin, the hybrid polyplexes comprise β-cyclodextrinmodified PPI as well as biotin/maltose-modified PPI as carriers for minicircle DNAs encoding for Sleeping Beauty transposase and a transposon encoding the gene of interest. The PSCA-specific hybrid polyplexes efficiently delivered a GFP gene in PSCA-positive tumor cells, whereas control hybrid polyplexes showed low gene transfer efficiency. In an experimental gene therapy approach, targeted transposition of a codon-optimized p53 into p53-deficient HCT116p53−/−/PSCA cells demonstrated decreased clonogenic survival when compared to mock controls. Noteworthily, p53 transposition in PTEN-deficient H4PSCA glioma cells caused nearly complete loss of clonogenic survival. These results demonstrate the feasibility of combining tumor-targeting hybrid polyplexes and Sleeping Beauty gene transposition, which, due to the modular design, can be extended to other target genes and tumor entities.


Original languageEnglish
Article number1925
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


Sustainable Development Goals

ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • DNA delivery, p53, poly(propylene imine), β-cyclodextrin